Phantom Hand of Fate
Dennis creates some hijinks when Cordelia & Angel conspire to play matchmakers for Wesley. Cordelia and Angel are already an established couple and Dennis has been moved to the Hyperion. With Dennis’ help, Cordy manages to find the perfect woman for Wesley.
- CONTENTS: C/A in AtS
- RATING: NC-17
- LENGTH: Short Story / 14,600 words
- STATUS: Completed
- CHALLENGE CREDIT: Becjane / Challenge #4 AO’s ‘Lysa Says: Challenge Me’ thread.
- FICPIC CREDIT: Lysa
- WARNINGS/SPOILERS: Explicit Sexual Content / Ghostly Voyeurism
Phantom Hand of Fate
Ghostly footsteps creaked on the stairs at the Hyperion Hotel signaling the arrival of Phantom Dennis in the main lobby. After fifty plus years of haunting his mother’s apartment at the old Pearson Arms, he was now a resident still eagerly exploring every nook and cranny of his new environment.
When Cordelia moved from the apartment to the Hyperion in order to be closer to Angel, she insisted that something be done to transfer Dennis at the same time. He had never known what belonging meant until Cordelia came along. She was a warm, friendly soul whose energy drew him like a moth to a flame. Those she cared for were now his people, too. There was Angel, the souled vampire she loved, Wesley the Englishman and now the street-wise newcomer Gunn.
Shy of strangers, Phantom Dennis tended to gravitate toward Cordelia’s energies, but after the first few weeks of observing the others and her interactions with them, it became easier to focus on the hotel as a whole. He had his run of the place and spent countless hours rearranging furniture in one of the building’s 68 rooms. Though that provided diversion, there was nothing he found more fascinating than hovering close as his people interacted.
Goings-on at Angel Investigations kept Phantom Dennis occupied around the clock. Just today, for instance, he caught Cordelia trying to convince Wesley that she had found the perfect match for him. Dennis once had a girl and only tragedy kept them apart. Surely Wesley would not turn down such an offer even if this wasn’t the first time she’d made such a claim.
“Absolutely not, Cordelia,” refused Wesley determinedly keeping his head bent over his stack of research material rather than look up at her leaning over the front desk.
Stomping her foot and letting out a loud grmph Cordelia felt like pulling her hair out. “C’mon, Wes, I promise she’s nothing like the last one.”
Finally, Wesley peered at her behind the rim of his glasses without so much as moving his head. Calmly stating, “We’d have nothing in common.”
“I haven’t said what she’s like,” she pointed out. “Besides, if you’re looking for a girl who’s got something in common with you, I’ll have to call the Watcher’s Council to get you a date. Wanted: One mule-headed fuddy-duddy.”
“I’m not looking for a girl,” the Englishman stated bluntly.
“Oh, rrrreally?” Cordelia arched her eyebrows as she let the question roll, unable to let that one go without saying something. It was too much fun to prod him a little, “Should I be looking for another type of date for you?”
“No,” Wes answered curtly trying not to be drawn in by Cordelia’s verbal bait. “I’m not looking for a date at all.”
Cordelia tapped her fingers against the edge of the book he was studying with such rapt attention. “Why not?”
“Because I’m busy.”
“We don’t have any active cases,” Cordelia considered as she tried to make out the text of the dusty tome, some ancient language she didn’t recognize. “What can be so damned important that you can’t take a break for one night?”
Setting his pen down on top of the yellow legal pad, Wesley slowly folded his hands together leaning closer and whispering in a deliberately conspiratorial tone. “I’d rather not say at this juncture of my research.”
Looking perturbed, Cordelia narrowed her gaze at her friend, “This is just a ploy to get me to quit bugging you, isn’t it? You’re not researching anything.”
“Yes, think that if you want,” answered Wes with a smug gleam in his eyes. He was not going to tell her a thing at this point. If she knew the truth, Cordelia and Angel would be hovering around him and asking questions about his progress every five minutes.
“Pfft!” As if she was supposed to believe him. Cordelia straightened up from the desk and gave Wesley a hard stare. “Don’t think this is over, buddy. If you keep this up, you’ll start collecting cobwebs and I’ll have to dust you along with the rest of the place. You need to get out and have a little fun.”
“It’s not a priority right now,” Wes insisted, picking up his pen again and staring down at the book.
Snagging the pen from his hand, Cordelia pointed it at him, “You’re stuck here with your nose in these books 16 hours a day. Get a life.”
“I have one,” he assured her with a disdainful look, “and if I want to date, I’ll do so without your help.”
Those calm blue eyes said the topic was closed. Cordelia dropped the pen down on the desk, frustration showing on her face. “Fine, I’ll let you off the hook tonight, but I’m not dropping the idea.”
“No,” Wes muttered under his breath as he watched her head for the stairs. “You’re like a tenacious puppy with a new chew toy, only I’m the one you’re gnawing at.”
With his ghostly grasp, Dennis floated the pen toward the paper drawing a question mark. Wesley was unsurprised by his presence and explained, “It’s just the latest symptom. Cordelia’s keen interest in my love life is simply an outlet. Ever since Doyle’s death, she and Angel have grown closer. Their romantic attachment is getting frustrating and I fear that Cordy is determined to see someone in this family perfectly happy.”
“Lucky me,” he shuddered thinking about the last girl Cordelia had attempted to set him up with. Somehow, she’d gotten it into her head that he felt lonely whenever she and Angel were together determining that if he had a girlfriend of his own, Wes wouldn’t suffer from neglect. “Right now, I just need a little peace and quiet.”
Phantom Dennis left Wesley to his work after that. He knew what the ex-watcher was so diligently working on: the cure for the vampire’s curse. Cordelia had shared all of the details about the fine line Angel had to walk when it came to experiencing true happiness, so Dennis knew everything. Even if he’d never seen the dark side of the vampire, he knew evil. That was something the ghost would never allow to touch Cordelia as long as it was in his power to protect her.
That included protecting Cordelia from her own impulsive actions.
Strangely enough, Angel didn’t think that was his intention when Dennis interrupted the pair with a sub-zero blast of air the other night. Things looked rather sizzling from his ghostly viewpoint and while Phantom Dennis knew the vampire was immune to cold, the sudden change in temperature was enough to get his attention.
Worked every time. How often had Cordelia grumbled to herself that Angel was still a ‘no-bone’ despite their otherwise intimate relationship? Even Angel was unsure if sex equated to resulting bliss that would activate the curse, but it was a chance the two of them could not take. Dennis simply knew that boners and cold air never mixed.
“Dennis!” roared Angel knowing instantly what the cause was. Cordelia only shrieked in surprise before giggling as she watched the vampire whirling around as if planning to do serious damage to their resident ghost.
The sound of Angel’s fury sent the apparition fleeing to the far corner of the room despite the fact that he was invisible, intangible and far beyond physical harm. Not that Angel would have really done damage…maybe, but the gold tint to his dark eyes suggested the interruption had been a good idea.
Angel and Cordelia had come into this first-floor space having decided that Wesley needed a larger office area of his own. He’d been spending so much time at the front desk on a stool doing research that they were getting concerned for their friend. Also needing a larger area for resource materials, it made sense to combine the two, especially if it would stop Wesley from tracking their every move.
The ex-watcher continued to observe Angel’s activities, but only out of a growing sense that Angel’s relationship with Cordelia was reaching a point where they often edged past the necessary limits they’d set for themselves. They were close emotionally, normally drawing on their mutual strengths in times of weakness when physical longing for each other made temptation too hard to resist.
Dennis figured they were a lot like Swiss cheese. One day, the holes were going to line up and neither one would remember the curse or its implications. Until Wes could find the cure, it was going to be Dennis’ duty to keep an eye on the pair. Unfortunately, even the most innocent of situations could flare into something nearly beyond their control.
The big desk they had found for Wesley’s office seemed to give the two of them ideas that had nothing to do with research.
“There’s something to be said for vampire strength,” Cordelia watched as Angel slid the desk into place thinking about the way his muscles bunched up beneath the material of his shirt stretching it until the cotton lovingly molded the thick muscles of his arms and wide shoulders.
“I can always find work in between cases moving furniture,” Angel joked deadpan as he caught the way her eyes slid over him.
Cordelia nibbled at her bottom lip as she put both hands on the edge of the desk opposite him, leaning forward and gazing intently into his eyes. Desire sparkled in response to her own and their dangerous game of flirtation picked up again. “I was thinking more along the lines of you making me hot, but if you wanna think up ways of making a quick buck who am I to stop you? Maybe I’d stand a chance of getting a raise out of you sometime this century.”
Just the way she smiled drew a physical response as Angel felt a tug deep within his chest and another familiar stirring some distance below. “I’ll give you a raise right now.”
The wicked glint and the curl of his mouth at one corner dropped Cordelia’s gaze. “Could I see what this raise entails?”
“Possibly,” Angel never let his gaze drop from hers as he moved around the corner of the desk toward her, sensual promise sounding from his throat as his voice dipped an octave lower.
Only Cordelia circled to the other side, a playful glint lighting her hazel orbs. “All things considered, it’s more of a fringe benefit.”
“Stay there,” he ordered only to see the instant response of her arched brow.
“Don’t think so,” she laughed and darted around the corner of the desk again. While calling out over her shoulder, “Isn’t chasing your secretary around the desk a little cliché?”
Angel leapt over it landing at her side and yanking Cordelia into his embrace. “We can discuss your job description later, Vision Girl. Right now, I want to kiss you.”
“O—,” Cordelia didn’t even manage a swift agreement as his lips swept across hers.
Smiles still played across their mouths as they kissed in teasing measures, just fun little smacks meant to last moments. Cordelia’s lips tingled against the cool surface of Angel’s mouth as a contrary heat bloomed beneath the soft weight of each caress. Their hands kept to the safe zones, hers along his broad shoulders and his lovingly cupping her face as those playful kisses captured each lush lip in turn.
Cordelia looped her arms around his neck needing to be closer, pressing her body up against his muscular frame and feeling the underlying strength she’d been admiring. A sudden hunger welled up impossible to ignore as those kisses only enticed her into wanting more. They parted for an instant only to read the need in each others eyes coming back together with a fervent passion that felt like desperation, a need to be as close as possible, to have more, just a little more.
Gone were the teasing caresses as one of Angel’s hands followed her spine to fill his palm with the firm curve of her ass and haul her against him. Her hips shifted closer, Cordelia letting out a moan and opening her mouth beneath his, accepting the entry of his tongue as it darted in and retreated drawing her deeper into his embrace. Her hands clasped his shoulders, fingers curling and softly raking down the surface of his shirt-covered back eliciting a low growl from the vampire.
Too many barriers between them, their hands grabbed fabric and began to tug the annoyance out of the way. To be closer was all they needed, just a little closer and it would be enough. Rasping cotton followed the slide of silk as their fumbling fingers made fast work of the small round buttons. Dueling kisses kept their senses fogged as piece by piece their clothing spread across the desk behind them.
A moan sounded, immediately echoed as hands pressed along smooth contours of flesh. That was better. Just to be able to touch each other. But the light caresses wandered across skin stirring their desire. Cordelia gasped against his mouth as Angel’s hands reached between them to touch her breasts. Their turgid tips rubbed against the silk of her bra poking into his palms.
Unhooking the bra seemed too complicated for Angel’s brain at that moment as he simply hooked two fingers beneath the straps and tugged. The beauty of Cordelia’s breasts spilled into his waiting hands. He plumped them, squeezing softly as his mouth pulled away from hers long enough to let his heated gaze drop down. Then meeting her eyes again, stared deeply as silence held them in a timeless void where speaking might break the spell of their desire.
He plundered her mouth again, hers moving with just as much passion beneath the lips that swiped voraciously at hers. Cordelia’s head dipped back as Angel’s kisses wandered across her jawline to the delicate turn of her throat where his blunt teeth nibbled and his tongue lathed at the skin just above her bounding pulse.
Cordelia shuddered with need, her own hands seeking out every hard contour of Angel’s manly physique no longer content to tease his male nipples into little points, follow the line of his ribs or circle the dip of his navel. The hard ridge of his erection pressed into her belly proving too tempting to resist as she dropped a hand to cup the large bulge beneath those Armani pants. His moan reverberated against her throat, his hips bucking hard against her palm.
That heavy weight pressing into her palm wasn’t enough despite that the bulge was overflowing her grasp. She could feel the outline of his cock, but her fingers itched to explore flesh rather than fabric. No conscious decision was made to do so, but her hands reached up to unbuckle the leather belt around his waist and slide the zipper down allowing her hand to slip inside.
Her name sounded in her ear on a deep rasp of pleasure, though Cordelia was too distracted by the hard shaft filling her hand to do more than react with a shiver of answering need that centered in her loins. The cool flesh warmed beneath her touch stiffening into velvet steel under the eager exploration of her fingers.
Nibbling kisses along her neck leading to her shoulder, Angel’s hands never stopped moving. Without Cordelia realizing what he’d done, she felt the soft material of her skirt sliding over her legs and hitting the floor. The wispy bit of silk that matched her bra soon fell around her ankles; she kicked them away even as she kept focus on holding him in her skilful grip.
Touches, even like this, remained on their ‘let’s do’ list, but it wasn’t enough, never enough. They needed, wanted, had to have just a little more than the last time.
Angel grasp moved from her hips along the curve of her waist and the swell of her breasts to hold her beneath her arms titling her back. Her back arched as he toyed with the rosy tips of her breasts sucking one and then the other into his mouth and playing havoc with his tongue across her sensitive skin. Cordelia lost concentration for a moment, loosing her hold on him.
Then he lifted her in one smooth motion to the surface of the desk, the wood smooth and cool beneath her skin. There were no words spoken. None. Just the intensity of his deep dark eyes gazing down into hers as Cordelia felt her body liquefy under that potent stare.
Curling her hand around the nape of his neck, she pulled him in for one more kiss, but it only fed the flame between them. Angel took her hands from around his neck where they had settled and pushed them down atop her thighs leading her to press them open wide. With a look of lustful resolve, Angel dropped to his knees putting himself at eye-level with the swollen pink folds of her sex.
For a moment, he simply stared and then lifting one hand trailed the back of his fingers along the outer edge circling back up on the other side. His finger flicked softly at the hard nub of her clit eliciting a short cry from her throat, but Cordelia swallowed the sound just as quickly, her fingers keeping hold of her inner thighs. After what seemed like eternity, she watched Angel’s head descend and felt the first rasp of his tongue against her wet heat.
To say that Angel enjoyed pleasuring Cordelia this way would be an understatement. There were countless other methods he could employ to send her toppling over the edge as she reached climax after climax and often he did. Only this substituted for something he wanted, something they both craved and couldn’t have.
The taste of her tangy arousal kept Angel purring against her. Sounding out his need, he devoured nearly every drop of the glistening fluid her body offered and laving the rest over the silky petals guarding that tight core. Rhythmically, his fingers set a pace that stroked her most sensitive spots sliding along her grasping inner muscles.
Below, with his free hand, Angel touched himself with that same rhythm keeping his cock in a tight grip imagining all the while that it was her. But it was never enough no matter how hard he came. No matter that Cordelia always screamed out his name, Angel knew that she deserved more…completion.
“Let me see you,” Cordelia’s husky plea sounded as she raised herself up on her elbows. In a tousled array, her long satin hair pooled over her shoulders and down onto the dark mahogany desk.
With his gaze back on hers, Angel rose to his feet, his pale skin stretched across the heavy, corded muscles of his torso and powerful thighs. Cordelia let her eyes soak up every bit of him settling on the action down below as he stroked the thick shaft of his cock. He was close. Enough so that she could reach out at touch him with her fingertips and she did so drawing Angel even closer so that the curls of her sex teased the blunt tip of his cock whenever his hand stroked downward.
That’s when her fingers teased him, running across the sensitive tip. Until one time the action accidentally caused him to collide with Cordelia’s clit. Seeing the instant reaction as she cried out in need, Angel wanted to watch her come again. Cock in hand, he rubbed the blunt tip back and forth against her swollen nub eliciting little gasps as her hips jerked off the desk toward him.
Angel focused on the sight of their nearly joined bodies, watching as the pink folds of her glistening sex teased the tip of his cock as he slid it against her. He wanted to come. He needed to come. He needed to be inside her. This teasing was nowhere near enough.
Struggling to control his need and to let go at the same time, Angel sensed he was in a losing battle. Cordelia wanted this just as much as he. Thoughts of irrational nature were the only ones filling his head…until a cold blast of air shocked him from the haze of his lust.
“Dennis!” roared Angel knowing exactly what had caused the interruption frustration and anger sounding in that cry.
Even as their resident ghost fled to the corner of the room, he knew that the action had prevented potential disaster. Once Angel finished his tirade, he stared down the length of his body toward his once-tumescent loins.
Yup, Phantom Dennis thought, giving out his self-directed kudos for saving the day, works every time.
Almost a week went by before Angel and Cordelia trusted themselves to anything more than snuggles and the occasional hasty kiss. They’d come so close to breaking their own rules that both knew the likelihood of repeating it. When they’d first gotten together, Cordelia was content for their sex life to remain on the level, in her words, of a little old couple who held hands, smooched and snuggled in front of the t.v., but even Angel didn’t think that was necessary. Though introducing Cordelia to ways of lovemaking that did not include penetration only whetted their appetites for the real deal.
Just for safety’s sake, they slept apart. Most of the time. Some mornings, Dennis would wander back from his nightly activities and find them curled up together on Angel’s bed, usually fully dressed.
With Wes now occupied with his research again, Dennis headed upstairs to check that Cordelia hadn’t gone to complain that her matchmaking scheme wasn’t working. He passed through the closed door of room 217 floating his way toward the bed where he found the vampire slumbering alone.
For an instant, the ghost pondered the still-as-death body half covered with the blue sheets. Phantom Dennis recalled Angel’s anger after his little interruption and the fact that he hadn’t received a thank you. In fact, the vampire had ignored him for the past few days glowering whenever Dennis made his presence known. The lucky vampire still got to be with Cordelia in other ways that a spectral apparition could only long for and somehow Angel had taken his interference as an act of jealousy rather than a timely reminder.
Satisfied that whatever Cordelia was doing, she was immediately safe from any lusty advances from her vampire lover, Dennis decided to have a little fun. Floating over to the closet, he opened the door and gazed inside at the orderly clothing. They were all arranged according to type, style and color.
Dennis let his ghostly grasp take hold of a hanger containing a red shirt and moved it to the other side of the closet in between two black jackets. Then he grabbed a white shirt and stuck it amongst the colored ones. His little task kept him occupied for some time as he finished with the closet and moved on to Angel’s sock drawer.
Hey, what else is a ghost to do to fill his time?
Satisfied that would get the vampire’s attention, Phantom Dennis passed directly through the far wall into Cordelia’s adjoining suite. She was lounging on the bed while talking to someone on the telephone.
“No, Serena,” she addressed the woman on the other end of the line, “Wes simply isn’t cooperating.”
That name seemed familiar, but it was one Dennis couldn’t connect with a face.
“No, no, I don’t think it has anything to do with that demon pregnancy thing. That wasn’t even your fault,” Cordelia commented. “Wes certainly seemed interested at the time even if you did think he was gay. Let me work on it for another day or two.”
Even Dennis had heard about the demon pregnancy fiasco. If not for the fact that Cordy was completely in love with Angel at the time, she might have gone out with her friends that night. Only a vision pointed them in the right direction allowing them to defeat the demon and its human surrogates.
“No?” Cordelia sounded disappointed when Serena declined. It was one thing to agree to a double date, but not when the guy apparently wasn’t interested.
She was in the process of hanging up the phone when a loud shout sounded from next door, “Dennis!”
Apparently, the vampire was awake and had discovered his little prank. Phantom Dennis followed along behind Cordelia as she opened the door between their rooms to find out what was going on. She found Angel growling and shoving clothing from one side of his closet back to the other. His dresser drawers were all open to some degree and there appeared to be socks in his underwear drawer.
“Having a little problem?” Cordelia automatically held her laughter to a minimum, but it was still enough to draw a dark look.
“Your ghost is a menace,” he growled.
Cordelia raised an eyebrow and crossed her arms at the tone. “My ghost? Why is he always my ghost when he’s having a little fun? You never say that when Dennis is on one of his cleaning binges or helps find the remote control.”
Glowering, Angel commented, “He’s usually the one that hides it in the first place.”
Dennis couldn’t deny it. He’d gotten a lot of amusement from watching Angel and Wes dig through couch cushions and lift furniture in search of the remote control. He would hide it on movie night and see how long it would take them to find it. Though sometimes, Cordelia’s soft pleading encouraged him to end their search sooner than he would have liked.
“He’s a pain in the ass,” Angel added as he stared back into the closet assuring that everything was back in its proper place.
The ghost was a gentle soul, but he had a playful side that seemed to gain strength as he got to know them better. Admittedly, Dennis did have a useful side as well being the only entity in the hotel that seemed to understand Cordelia’s unique filing system.
“Phantom Dennis is just looking for a little fun,” Cordelia pointed out defensively. “He’s a little lonely and needs attention. Kinda like Wes.”
“What about Wes?” That caught Angel’s attention. Hiking up his low-riding pajama bottoms, something he’d only started wearing when Cordelia started to come into his room at any given time of the day, a reminder to himself that some barriers were still necessary between them.
Her list of issues was a long one and Cordelia ticked them off on her fingers as she explained, “Wes must get a little lonely cooped up here with us. He has his own apartment, but spends more time at work than he does there. When was the last time he went out on a date? He’s studying way too much. More than necessary. It’s starting to interfere with his life.”
Angel frowned at the idea. Surely Wesley was able to determine his own limitations on research. It appeared that Cordelia had thought this out quite a bit and there was a gleam in her eyes as if she was eager to tell him something. He knew that bright, scheming look and for once was glad that it wasn’t focused on him.
“You’ve got something up your sleeve,” Angel mused aloud. Heaven help his friend if Cordelia was on a quest. “Should I warn Wes now and give him a chance to run?”
Her tongue stuck out at him in automatic reaction, brow crinkling just a bit in spite of the amusement that came over her face. Cordelia explained, “I just thought it might be fun for Wes to have a girlfriend. We could all go out together instead of leaving Wes cooped up here or forcing him to tag along like a third wheel. Y’know…double date.”
For a moment, Angel realized that she might be right about Wesley feeling left out. He and Cordelia sometimes tended to get caught up in themselves at times. Then he realized what Cordelia was suggesting. Angel was still getting used to the idea of taking Cordelia out on his own much less in a group activity.
Phantom Dennis watched as Angel turned back to his dresser distracting Cordelia from the subject by grumbling about the state of his sock drawer. All of the socks were now matched up with an odd pair.
The hotel appeared deserted as Wesley returned from a brief dinner break. He’d gone to the deli across the street and walked around the block afterward to stretch his legs. Dennis greeted him with a flicker of the lobby lights and Wes acknowledged him with a nod before glancing toward the stairs.
No doubt Angel and Cordelia were ensconced in the bedroom upstairs. Apparently, they’d gotten over whatever little reminder they’d had about using extreme caution when it came to their sex life. If it wasn’t for the very real threat of Angelus getting loose and wreaking havoc upon all of Los Angeles, Wesley honestly wouldn’t care that his friends had an intimate relationship.
The two of them were already connected on so many levels considering their status as seer and warrior for the Powers That Be. Interoffice romances were hardly news. Unless one of those involved lost his soul during an unguarded moment of pure bliss and decided to maim, murder and desecrate half the city.
“Guess I’d better get back to looking for a solution to that curse,” Wes muttered. “Dennis, would you please pull the Murdock file. There is something in there that I want to cross-reference with my notes from the Sularin Compendium.”
Wesley resumed his research and noticed five minutes later that no manila folder had appeared beside him. “Dennis?”
There was no response from the ghost, which had Wesley thinking that Phantom Dennis had floated off to do something else. He could be helpful at times, but the nature of his being made him easily distracted and not exactly reliable in all situations.
Getting up from his stool, Wes walked over to the filing pile on Cordelia’s desk. The Murdock file, a recent case, was not there. Nor was it in the filing cabinet next to her desk. With a dawning realization, Wes’ eyes turned to the closed door of Angel’s private office. He took three strides and gripped the door handle halfway turning it before it occurred to Wes that maybe he should have knocked first.
Angel didn’t normally keep the office door closed unless there was a client inside or Cordelia was with him.
Wes already had his head stuck inside the door when he thought to shut his eyes. Just in case. Clearing his throat, he waited a moment for the rustle of clothing or the sound of the vampire shouting for him to get out. When the room remained silent, he peeked out of one eye noting that the desk and the rest of the office was empty.
Letting out a deep sigh, Wesley admonished himself for imagining that his friends were spread out across Angel’s desk. Did people actually have sex on desks? There was certainly no need for it considering they worked in a hotel and had any number of more comfortable options.
Not that he wanted to think about their other options. Wesley quickly noted that there was no file on Angel’s desk and decided there was only one other place to look. If Murdock had actually paid his bill on time, the file would be in the adjacent cloak room that served as their permanent storage area.
Wesley turned the handle and walked in. A moment later, he let out a high-pitched girly shriek finding both Angel and Cordelia inside the small room. Angel had his back to the door while Cordelia was on her knees directly in front of the vampire, her red-tipped fingers curled around his clothed thighs. Instant understanding hit, but Wes found himself powerless to move a muscle.
This was hardly the first time he’d caught them in a compromising position, but not one quite so blatantly obvious as this. Wesley’s eyes were wide circles behind the frame of his glasses as he saw them both react to his interruption. Stopping her… uh, activity, Cordelia tilted her head to the side, eyes popped open in guilty surprise as she acknowledged his presence.
Angel glanced over his shoulder, clearly annoyed by his untimely arrival. When Wes made no move to leave, Angel prompted him, “Coming or going, Wes?”
A red mist of heated embarrassment surged prompting Wesley to speak.
“I-I-I’m leaving,” he assured the vampire darting back outside, slamming the door shut behind him and leaning up against it, his heart pounding in his chest. There was growling and giggling from inside the cloak room.
Wes decided he needed to wipe that experience out of his mind. Forget all about it, best to get back to work and pretend that it hadn’t happened. Wryly, Wes figured that he now knew where Dennis had gone off to. That also reminded him that he still needed that cross-reference data.
Knocking lightly on the cloak room door, Wes reminded the ghost, “I still need the Murdock file.”
Seconds later, a manila folder was pushed out from beneath the door.
Sometime later the door to the cloakroom opened up, its squeaking hinges jarring Wes from his research. Angel and Cordelia were still talking between themselves over the situation they’d created.
“How was I to know we’d be interrupted?” Cordelia asked her cheeks still pink as Wes glanced in her direction.
Angel muttered his answer, “We’re always interrupted. If it isn’t Wes popping in on us it’s Dennis with his icy blasts of air, floating furniture and knotted sheets.”
“They mean well,” Cordy shrugged getting over it despite the look of embarrassment on Wesley’s face as they approached him. “It’s not like Wes walked in on us on purpose.”
Noting the scowl on Angel’s face, Wesley responded promptly, “Not at all, though I must say that the cloakroom is meant to be used for business matters.”
Snorting, Cordelia’s mouth opened up into an amused smile, “Risky business.”
“Precisely,” nodded Wesley obviously not thinking about Tom Cruise. “Very risky. Good thing that I did walk in, even though the mental scars will take years to fade.”
Ignoring the jibe remark, Angel assured him, “It would’ve been fine.”
“There are no guarantees with this happiness clause,” reminded Wes giving the vampire a hard stare and tilting his jaw up a notch.
“We know that. I just don’t like the idea of being under constant supervision when Cordelia and I are together.” Then Angel narrowed his gaze as he thought back to his conversation with Cordelia earlier in the day. “Maybe Cordy’s idea about getting you out of the hotel is a good one.”
“Finding you a date,” Angel answered with the upward curve of his mouth at one corner.
“Hah! I knew there was an ulterior motive,” Wesley turned to point at Cordelia who was grinning slyly.
“You scared off Serena,” exasperation sounded as she spoke. “Now I’ll have to find someone else.”
Angel leaned up against Cordelia’s desk, arms crossed and suddenly liking the idea of setting Wes up just to gain a little figurative breathing room. “What was her other friend’s name? Emily?”
“Oh, she’s hooked up with the lead singer of Exotic Crush,” Cordelia named a band that neither one of the guys had ever heard of and would probably never hear on stage.
“Thank goodness for that,” Wes said stiffly. “I told you I’m not looking for romance at the moment.”
Cordelia shifted her weight from one foot to the other, contemplating who her next candidate might be. “I suppose that I could call Harmony.”
“Harmony!” Wes sucked in a strangled gasp. He barely knew the blonde from their Sunnydale days. From what he had experienced at the prom that was one match he certainly wasn’t going to take.
“It’s been a while since I’ve heard from her, but she always talked about moving to L.A., so there’s a chance she’s in town,” Cordelia explained straight-faced.
Okay, so she wouldn’t do that to Wes, but it was fun to see his eyes bug out that way. Knowing how he’d react to the suggestion of dating her ditzy former friend, she hoped the idea would open up his mind to better possibilities.
Considering the way he was glowering at her, Cordelia added some further incentive. “You’d be helping us out. We could all go out together. That makes for less time for Angel and I to get into trouble.”
“Tempting,” Wes admitted that the idea of keeping a close eye on them was a good one, but he was too close to finding the cure for Angel’s curse to get distracted now. “Somehow, I’ll have to resist.”
Cordelia sent Angel a conspiratorial glance. Now that the vampire seemed to be on her side in arranging someone for Wesley, she felt certain they would find him the right woman.
Catching the look she sent Angel, Wesley warned her irritably, “I wouldn’t go on a double date with you two if my perfect match walked through that door.”
Angel decided they’d irritated Wes enough that it made up for him walking in on them. “We have something else you might be interested in.”
“Doubtful,” Wesley responded thinking that they’d run out of human options and were now going down their list of potential demoness match-ups.
“You’ll like it,” grinned Cordelia grabbing onto Wesley’s sleeve and dragging him down the hall toward their surprise.
Wesley looked back at Angel slight panic rising in his chest. “No, I won’t. I’m too busy doing research.”
“That’s the point,” Cordelia returned as she opened the door to his new office and library. “Surprise!”
“My own office?” Walking into the room, Wesley glanced around at the tidy space with the tiny decorative touches that suggested they’d both had a hand in designing the office and its décor.
“Hope you like it,” Cordelia figured he would. “You’ll have to share my PC until we get a few more cases, but other than that this is all yours.”
Feeling a little overwhelmed at the effort they’d made on his behalf, Wesley felt the sting of salty tears at the corner of his eye. Turning away to examine one of the potted plants, he surreptitiously wiped away the evidence. Sometimes Cordelia and Angel were so self-involved that his efforts went overlooked, or at least it appeared that way. Nice to know that wasn’t the case.
“Would you file this, please, Dennis?” Cordelia held up a folder which was promptly floated toward the filing cabinet.
As she looked up, Cordelia saw that Angel was pacing around his office. Usually not a good sign, she decided to find out what was going on. “Wearing a hole in the floor?”
Angel paused and glanced down at his feet. “I’ve been thinking about Wes.”
“Yeah,” agreed Cordelia walking over to stand beside him, “me too. Do you think I should give Aura a call? She comes into town all of the time to see her brother, Reg.”
“You’d do that to Wes?” asked Angel distractedly. The former Cordette had lost none of her bite since her High School days according to Cordelia’s detailed descriptions of their phone conversations.
Cordelia frowned at the question, “What’s so bad about Aura?”
“Nothing,” Angel answered hastily. “Except for the fact that she’d eat him alive and would never fit in with our lifestyle.”
“Aura’s from Sunnydale.” Cordelia reminded him that any girl who grew up on the Hellmouth and witnessed their high school principal getting chomped by their guest speaker/mayor turned gigantic snake demon probably wouldn’t bat an eyelash over Wesley’s job. “She can deal.”
Looking doubtful, Angel’s reaction prompted Cordelia to ask him who he’d consider matching Wesley with. Having not really given it a thought after yesterday’s discussion and knowing that Cordelia was completely serious about this self-appointed task of fixing Wes up with a girlfriend so they could double-date, Angel searched his brain for a name, any name and floundering finally came up with…, “How about Kate?”
“Detective Lockley?” gasped Cordelia as if she’d never once thought about the blond police officer.
“She knows what we do,” Angel tagged on.
Cordelia rolled her eyes at the idea. “Pfft! Kate wouldn’t be caught in the same room as you much less go out with us. She hates vampires.”
“She’d be dating Wesley, not me,” Angel shrugged. At least it was an idea. “He’s human.”
Now Cordelia was pacing, “It could work. Maybe I’d better be the one to contact Kate instead of you.”
“Good idea,” nodded Angel knowing that Kate wasn’t likely to speak to him much less listen long enough to hear what he had to say.
“Then you can relax. We both can,” grinned Cordelia, happy now that she had a plan.
Angel gave her a sheepish smile, “Actually, Wes’ love-life wasn’t what I was thinking about?”
“It wasn’t?” Cordelia looked perturbed. Hadn’t they discussed this priority already?
“No, I was wondering what Wes is up to,” he confessed, rubbing the nape of his neck and then shoving both hands in his pockets. “All this research he’s been doing. What is he looking for?”
Cordelia shrugged, “Who knows. Could be anything, a new prophesy maybe.”
“He’s being evasive, Cordy.” The fact had been bugging him for a few days now, but having been so distracted by Cordelia, he’d let his curiosity slide.
Thinking about it, Cordelia supposed Wes had been closed-mouthed on the subject. “I did catch him using my computer a couple of times. He turned it off right away as if he didn’t want me to see what he was doing.”
“Could he be doing something dangerous?”
“I thought he must be checking out computer porn,” Cordelia laughed at the idea, “but then this is Wesley we’re talking about.”
“I think it’s time to start asking serious questions,” Angel put a hand on the small of her back and led Cordelia out of his office. They were about to head down the hall when Dennis pulled a piece of crumpled paper out of the garbage can. Hurling it at the vampire, the balled paper bounced off of Angel’s forehead.
“Dennis! What the hell was that for?”
Cordelia bent down and picked up the paper from the floor. “I think he’s trying to tell us something.
Flattening out the paper so that it was readable, Cordelia glanced over the contents. “Something about a rare demon extract…blah, blah, blah…arranging for Wes to get it this week. More boring stuff…extract is rather volatile in its undiluted form. Nothing, nothing, nothing…obtained from…eew! I did so not need to read that.”
Shoving the paper into Angel’s hands, Cordelia shuddered, “Whatever it is, that stuff is gross.”
Thoroughly reading over the entire letter, Angel had to admit that he was no more informed about Wesley’s research than he had been before Dennis shared this bit of news with them. “It looks like Wes has been in contact with another field expert and needs this extract for his research.”
“Question time?” Cordelia asked Angel already heading in the direction of Wesley’s new office.
Crumpling the paper into a ball again, Angel tossed it toward the trashcan hitting it dead center. He didn’t even have time to respond to Cordelia before the wadded paper flew back out of its receptacle now hitting the vampire on the back of the head.
“Dennis! What is it now?” Angel growled at him.
Turning around, Cordelia walked back to join him. There was always the possibility that Phantom Dennis was just having a little fun with Angel, but she wasn’t going to suggest that idea. Angel was still griping about his sock drawer.
They watched as the paper containing the email unfolded before their eyes. A red marker floated from its place on Cordelia’s desk, uncapped itself and then circled a name on the paper. Neither Angel nor Cordelia had noticed it before as the name was part of the sender’s email address.
“He’s a genius,” Cordelia marveled at Dennis’ ability to notice little details. “My ghost is a genius.”
“Busybody,” corrected Angel realizing that their resident phantom was so involved with every aspect of their lives that he knew more about them than they did. He had to concede, “Good job, Dennis. This gives us a lead.”
“A lead?” Cordelia scrunched up her nose. “It’s more than that. Don’t you see what this means, Angel?”
The vampire stared down at her planning to answer, but knowing that it wouldn’t be what she wanted him to say, “That Wes is collecting demon extract for a dangerous experiment and he knows precisely who to contact to get it?”
Rolling her eyes, Cordelia smacked him in the chest. “No, dorkula. It means we can forget about Kiss Me Kate Lockley.”
Wesley looked at his watch for the fifth time in as many minutes. Their usual mail delivery occurred at just after 2pm barring unusual weather or major sporting events. He was sitting at the front desk eagerly anticipating the delivery of the package and wondering why he hadn’t asked if Dr. Potter was planning to send it by UPS or Fed-Ex. That way, he could have tracked the package minute-by-minute to its arrival.
He was still staring at the door when it opened ten minutes later to admit a pretty blond woman wearing a sundress with a bright red flowery print and carrying a large straw tote bag. She paused just inside the doors, pulled off her sunglasses and took a moment to look around the lobby, an expression of surprise on her tanned face.
Straightening his tie, Wes sat up and cleared his throat. They hadn’t had a client in the past couple of days and he wondered what problem this woman might have to bring her to Angel Investigations.
“May I help you?” Wes asked formally hoping that the spot of mustard on his tie wasn’t showing. He’d tried to wipe it off, but the tumeric dye in the mustard was nearly impossible to rub out.
A smile instantly appeared on her face as she turned toward him and Wesley felt a little nervous under the warm gaze this stranger was sending his way. “I’m looking for Wesley Wyndam-Pryce.”
Sputtering in surprise, “W-why, that would be me.”
Reaching into her tote bag, the woman pulled out a sturdy oblong box about six inches long. As she started across the foyer, Wes came to realize that this woman was hand-delivering the extract he’d been expecting as she commented, “This was just too unstable to send through the mail.”
“D-Do you work with Dr. Potter?”
Laughing, she answered, “I am Dr. Potter, but there’s no need to be so formal. You can call me Harry.”
Wesley stared at her, blinking twice as he realized Dr Harry Potter was not a man at all.
“No relation to the fictional character,” Harry added when he appeared to be tongue-tied.
“You’re the renowned demonologist.”
Harry didn’t blush, but looked rather pleased at the reference. She’d worked hard over the past few years to gain respect in the community for her research. “I’ve only recently taken a job at UCLA. You know the drill. Teach a few basic classes, but gain access to scholars and students interested in my field.”
“That’s really fascinating,” Wes commented suddenly thinking that he had a hundred questions for this interesting young woman.
Taking the box from her hand, Wes set it down on the counter. He had no idea that Dennis had gone upstairs to notify Angel and Cordelia of their guest’s arrival until the two of them appeared on the stairs a couple of minutes later.
“Harry!” Cordelia called out from atop the stairs drawing a frown from Wes who was confused by the fact that the brunette seemed to know the PhD. Then again, he had taken Dr. Potter’s email address from Cordelia’s computer: firstname.lastname@example.org was listed as a demonologist. While Wes had never heard details on Dr. Potter’s gender, he had certainly heard of her reputation in the field.
Waving at the pair descending the staircase, she greeted them with enthusiasm, “Hi, you two. Boy, have you guys moved up in the world. Those old offices were tiny compared to this place.”
“You saw the old A.I. office?” asked Wes realizing that the acquaintance must have occurred before his arrival in Los Angeles.
Nodding, Harry explained, “My ex-husband used to work with Angel and Cordelia. Did you ever meet Francis?”
His jaw dropped as Wes realized just who this woman was and the reason that Cordy kept her email address in her computer address book. “F-Francis Doyle?”
A sad look flashed across her face for a moment as she met Cordelia’s sympathetic gaze, but Harry nodded. “Maybe I should have kept the name. Harry Doyle draws a lot less attention than Harry Potter, if you know what I mean.”
“No doubt,” Wes stared over at Cordelia wondering why she was wearing a Cheshire cat grin on her face. His friend obviously recognized the fact that he had been rather attracted to the blonde…until he found out her identity. Cordelia had radar, as far as he was concerned, in detecting such vibes.
A deep sense of disappointment settled over him at the discovery that Harry was in actuality Doyle’s ex-wife. How could he even hope to pursue an interest in her? As much as the Irish seer meant to Cordelia and Angel, having Harry around would be a sore reminder of the loss of their close friend and colleague.
“Thank you for bringing the extract,” Wesley tried to appear calm and disinterested. “How coincidental it is that you know Angel and Cordelia.”
“Yes,” Harry agreed adding another delightful little laugh that brought a glow to her face. “Cordy has sent me an email or two whenever she has a question your books don’t seem to provide answers too. Until recently, I’ve been out of the country, so visiting was never really an option.”
Wesley took a deep breath, “If you don’t mind, Dr Potter, I have some things that I need to discuss with my colleagues. Now that you’ve provided the extract, I can finally complete the task I’ve been working on for the past few months.”
Catching the look in Harry’s eyes, Cordelia quickly realized that she appeared almost hesitant to leave. “Oh, Harry can hear whatever you have to say. She’s practically family anyway.”
Considering that their prior acquaintance had involved an uncomfortable introduction and some female bonding during her bachelorette party, Harry was a little surprised by the reference. Though there had been one other time when they met face to face and that was just after Doyle’s death when Harry had come to collect the keys to his apartment.
It was clear to Harry that the vampire was extremely protective of Cordy at the time while Cordelia was hurting deeply because of losing Doyle. It hadn’t surprised Harry in the least when Cordelia informed her that they were now a couple. When Cordelia contacted her to suggest that she bring the extract in person rather than send it by mail or messenger, she hoped she would get a chance to meet Wesley in person.
Their emails were full of fascinating questions and experiences that Harry decided were worth pursuing in more detail face to face. She hadn’t expected the stubble-jawed young Englishman with the mustard stain on his tie. After those first few minutes when she was certain that he found her attractive, Harry now realized that he was trying to get rid of her.
Well maybe it was time that she introduced him to the fact that Henrietta Potter was no pushover. “I’m staying. I think I have an interest in this situation considering what I had to go through to get that Raskvorna demon to cooperate with me.”
“No details,” Cordelia shuddered at the thought.
Wesley blushed at the realization that he’d arranged for a woman to collect this rare demon secretion. “No need for that. The extract’s origins do not matter as much as the potion I will create with it.”
“What potion is that?” Angel inquired as he leaned across the desk to look at the vial of glowing fluid inside the box.
“The one that I hope will secure your soul.”
Cordelia and Angel stared silently for a moment, both in shock that their friend had been working on something so important to them without a hint of the nature of his research. With a squeal of delight, Cordelia practically flew across the space between them nearly knocking Wes off of his feet as she hugged him. She planted a loud kiss on his cheek and proceeded to jump up and down enthusiastically.
Glancing over at Angel, Wesley looked a little taken aback by Cordelia’s reaction. He straightened his glasses which were now sitting haphazardly across the bridge of his nose. “You aren’t going to kiss me too, are you?”
Phantom Dennis’ efforts to assist with the potion mixing went unappreciated by all involved. Even Harry appeared a little taken aback by the fact that a ghost wanted to help. Angel shooed him away guarding the table that Wesley had set up like he was expecting Dennis to exchange the demon extract for ectoplasm.
“How much longer?” asked Cordelia as she sat on the stool at the desk overlooking the activity in the lobby.
Wesley reached out for the next ingredient, which Harry held out for him, and gave his friend and exasperated sigh, “Cordy, it’ll be finished whenever you give me the time to do so. All of these interruptions are distracting.”
Just cos she kept asking every minute or two didn’t mean she was distracting, Cordy figured as she tapped her fingernails against the countertop. “Why didn’t you tell us what you were planning? We would’ve helped.”
Mumbling under his breath caused Harry to chuckle. She answered, “Perhaps Wesley was concerned you two might be too close to the matter to objectively examine the research.”
“Precisely,” nodded Wes while tossing in some rather stinky herbs into the mixture.
Angel sniffed at the unpleasant odor and decided to take a few steps back. Was it too much to hope that this potion wouldn’t taste as bad as it smelled? Not that it mattered considering the fact that he’d do just about anything to secure his soul and find some peace and some freedom for himself and Cordelia. As long as the threat existed over his soul, he would be a prisoner to his emotions and his inner demon.
Two hours later everything was in place. Cordelia stood anxiously next to Angel as he held the cup filled with the potion. He gulped it down, setting the cup on the table next to them and waited for the potion to take effect. Even Wes had no idea what to expect. Harry hovered at his elbow, eyes wide and taking in every little detail.
Cordelia reached up to palm Angel’s face as he met her bright gaze. “You know I’ll still love you no matter what happens.”
Angel felt the warmth of her love deep in his chest and pulled Cordelia into his tight embrace. As his mouth came down upon hers in a kiss that conveyed the love and passion they shared, a bright flash of blue light enveloped them both and just as quickly disappeared.
Having shielded his eyes, Wesley peeked out at the oblivious couple who were still locked in their passionate embrace. Harry glanced at him with a measure of surprise. “Was that supposed to happen?”
“I-I don’t think so,” Wes admitted. Understanding that Dennis might be the first to see a difference considering his spectral viewpoint, he asked, “Notice anything new, Dennis?”
Reeling from the mystical event, Dennis felt a little dizzy, something the ghost had not experienced since his human days. Attuned to the energy normally surrounding his people here at the Hyperion, Dennis could tell that something was different. Not only with Angel, but Cordelia too. The shifting light that was Angel’s soul seemed steady, but it now existed with finely-layered connections to the woman in his arms.
Dennis flicked the lights off and on, calling their attention to the situation. Apparently Wesley’s potion had worked and included fringe benefits that only time might hint at their meaning.
“Our ghost seems to think the potion was a success,” Wesley informed Harry as she glanced up at the light fixtures.
That took a little getting used to, but Harry was familiar with any number of demon behaviors so having a ghost around wasn’t exactly frightening to her. “That’s terrific! We should celebrate.”
Pulling apart slightly, Angel and Cordelia were staring longingly into each other’s eyes. His thumb moved across her cheek to the plump mound of her lower lip as if he was already missing its texture. “Celebrating sounds like a good idea.”
Wesley had a feeling that the vampire’s idea of a celebration was something rather different than what Harry had in mind and that it certainly did not include them in the process. Having interacted with Harry the past few hours, he was more certain than ever that he was attracted to her, but finishing the potion meant that she would be walking out of his life with no good reason to remain in contact with him.
Suddenly, Wes decided that Angel and Cordelia owed him a favor. Since they’d been so set on fixing him up and dragging him along on a double-date that was precisely what was going to happen tonight. Their version of celebrating would just have to wait.
Crossing his arms over his chest, Wes faced his friends determinedly tilting his chin and daring them to defy his suggestion, “The four of us should go out to dinner to thank Harry for bringing the demon extract and to celebrate your permanent soul.”
“Great idea, Wes,” commented Cordelia with a too-wide smile. Her expression told him that she thought otherwise, but for once was going to let him get away with it. Only because she also had an interest in getting Wes and Harry together.
Angel glowered in his direction, not bothering to hide the fact that he didn’t like the idea. Considering everything that Cordelia had done to set up Harry’s arrival at the hotel, he decided that he ought to make an effort on Wes’ behalf considering all of the time his friend had spent doing the research that made this possible.
At the restaurant, Angel waited as long as possible having made polite conversation. He was just too distracted by thoughts of making love to Cordelia without having to hold anything back to get interested in Harry’s discussion on the familial ties of Daro demons even though the subject seemed to enthrall Wes.
Cordelia passed the time enjoying the vibes that passed between Wes and Harry as they conversed on their favorite subject: research. Multitasking, while managing to keep a straight face, Cordelia played footsie under the table with Angel. The teasing touch of her toes sliding up his pant leg kept drawing his intent stare. As she made her way up his thigh, Angel accidentally knocked over his wine glass.
All eyes turned to him and Angel saw the naughty sparkle in Cordelia’s hazel orbs as she waited for him to explain his sudden clumsiness. Her toes kept wriggling their way up his thigh now climbing a large bulge that seemed to hold particular interest.
“Well, I think that’s my signal,” Angel’s voice sounded gruff and a bit strangled. “It’s been great seeing you again, Harry, but since I don’t normally eat food and Cordelia is too busy…playing around…with hers, I think it’s time we left you two alone.”
“I’m surprised you’re still here,” admitted Harry with a grin. Having been told that the potion permanently counteracted the effects of the happiness clause in Angel’s curse, she could imagine that the two of them wanted to test out its effects.
On a serious note, Wesley commented, “Perhaps I should be around when you two… you know.”
Harry looked amused by the fact that he couldn’t actually say the words ‘have sex’.
Angel instantly responded, “No.”
Looking at Cordelia as if he’d get a more reasonable response, Wesley suggested, “I think some chains and a tranquilizer gun might be in order, just in case.”
While having Angel chained to his bed wasn’t exactly a new experience, the last time had nothing to do with making love to him. Cordelia silently admitted that she had a few fantasies about having her vampire helpless beneath her, but the thought of Wes standing by with a tranq gun was not part of the picture in her head. “Romantic, much? Pfft. Harry, I really don’t think he’s that hopeless.”
There was laughter in Harry’s bright eyes as she attempted to hold back a response.
Reaching beneath the table, Angel grasped Cordelia’s foot and returned it to the floor. “I’m not opposed to having a little fun, but I think Cordy and I will hold off on playing bondage games for now. They’re hardly likely to induce bliss if I can’t have Cordelia in my arms.”
Wes glanced over at Harry half expecting her to react with embarrassment at the subject matter. Instead, she calmly suggested, “Perhaps Dennis could stand by.”
“You aren’t shocked?” asked Wesley.
Confused, Harry queried, “At what?”
“Erm…the talk about chains and games and such,” explained Wes with color flooding his cheeks.
“Angel is a vampire,” reminded Harry nonchalantly as if that explained everything.
Relaxing, Wes realized that Harry’s knowledge of demon behavior put her at ease with the whole topic. It was quite refreshing to have someone who understood the nature of their business and possessed detailed knowledge on the subject.
Then Cordelia chimed in, “And it’s not like Dennis doesn’t already watch us when we have sex.”
The waiter had just walked over to help clean up the spilled wine and refill Angel’s glass. He looked at them with a bug-eyed expression, asking Angel, “Will there be anything else, sir?”
Beating a hasty retreat, their waiter disappeared amongst the tables leaving them all laughing. Cordelia simply added, “Well, it’s true.”
Their voyeuristic ghost simply observed the experiences of a physical life now denied him. It was in his nature to do so and his presence had never bothered them before except when Phantom Dennis had interrupted them. So Angel had to admit that it was actually a good idea to use the ghost as their backup.
Taking hold of Cordelia’s hand, he threaded his fingers between hers. “There is no guarantee that this potion worked despite the light show. You know what will happen if we make love.”
Cordelia squeezed his hand, “Bliss, I know. I’m willing to take the chance because I know that Wes is capable of doing anything he puts his mind too. He’d never risk it if he doubted that it would work.”
Across the table, both Wes and Harry had tears in their eyes and were hastily trying to appear unaffected by Cordelia’s words.
“Enjoy the rest of your dinner,” Angel told them never taking his eyes off of the woman he loved. He released her hand so they could get out of their chairs, both of them rising simultaneously.
Angel tossed down a couple of large bills onto the table and walked over to grasp Cordelia’s hand again before leading her out of the restaurant. Watching them go, Harry asked Wesley, “Do you ever wonder if people are simply fated to be together?”
“I never really thought about it,” Wes admitted just before adding, “until today.”
Cordelia and Angel stumbled through the doors of the Hyperion already half way to being unbuttoned. They paused at the front desk as Cordelia tossed her purse and shoes onto the countertop. She barely had time to set them down before Angel turned her around and proceeded to kiss her breathless. Just a little payback for the things she had done to him in the car on the way home.
He gripped the edges of her silk blouse and pulled them apart sending the remaining buttons popping in all directions and exposing her lace-covered breasts to his view. Those lush mounds curved deliciously beneath the silky barrier and his hands slid up the smooth skin of her torso to test their weight against his palms.
She let out a little moan as his thumbs brushed along her pebbled nipples and then the sound deepened huskily as Angel sucked one hard nub into his mouth. His teeth nipped gently, tugging on it through the silk and leaving a moist spot behind as he moved over paying equal attention to its mate.
“Oh, God, just rip it off,” Cordelia demanded on a groan wanting his mouth directly on her skin.
She was too busy yanking his shirttails from his waistband to do it herself, her eager fingers slipping beneath to feel his cool skin against her hands.
Angel lifted his head for a moment, long enough to see the matching lust in her eyes that signaled she didn’t want this to be soft, slow and romantic. Since he wasn’t sure he could manage either one of those things right now, Angel figured it was just as well Cordelia wanted this as badly as he did. He curled his fingers around the loose collar of her blouse, gasping the straps of her bra at the same time, quickly pulling them down and effectively trapping her arms against her sides.
She let out a little yelp of surprise and struggled to get loose until Angel returned his attention to her mouth. Grasping her jaw, he turned her to face him, opening her mouth and invading her with teasing kisses that left her moaning for more. Drawn into his mouth, Cordelia ran her tongue along the sensitive roof skimming over the housing to his fangs eliciting a deep growl of pleasure from the vampire.
Panting in triumph at his response, Cordelia snatched that second of distraction to rub her aroused breasts across the soft material covering his muscular chest. She wanted her skin against his and the barrier that remained only made her whimper in frustration. The little sound caught Angel’s attention, but he only wrapped his arms around her, one hand buried in the loose waves of her hair to bend her back across the edge of the desk exposing her neck and breasts to his intent gaze.
Laving at her pulse point, Angel nipped at the flesh of her throat then pressed hot kisses over the reddened spot, his body already heating up with its close contact to hers. Cordelia arched upward as his mouth descended to her breasts, calling out his name as Angel teased her sensitive flesh with his lips and tongue.
He could scent her arousal in the air surrounding them like a cloud of pure desire as liquid honey pooled between her thighs. Cupping her through her pants, Angel felt the tempting heat as his fingers moved against her.
“I need to touch you,” Cordelia reminded him that her arms were still trapped. The look he gave made her wonder if he wasn’t planning to leave her that way, but then Angel moved his hands to grasp the material of her bra now stretched around her arms and waist. With one tug, the silk ripped like tissue against his strength and he slowly pulled the shredded bra and her blouse down over her wrists to drop them to the floor.
Now free, Cordelia couldn’t make up her mind what part of him she wanted to touch first. Running her hands from his shoulders down the length of his torso, she cupped Angel’s erection with both hands. One swept below to his balls and the other mapped out his considerable length through the barrier of his pants. Just long enough to feel him and hear his responsive purr rumbling in his chest.
Then she was yanked up against him, her arms pulled up to his shoulders as Angel pinned her hips against the front desk with his own. Cordelia wound her legs around him holding on tight as Angel pressed his face close to her neck and thrust against her at a frenetic pace. The friction and the feel of Angel’s large hands squeezing her ass in time to the rhythm of his thrusts caused Cordelia to build quickly to a climax that caught them both by surprise.
As her keening cries filled his ears, Angel lifted his topaz gaze to hers, unnecessarily breathing hard. In a graveled voice, he remarked at the sudden realization, “We don’t have to do it this way anymore.”
Still panting in reaction to the shuddering waves of pleasure, Cordelia touched her mouth to his ear. Her hot breath covered him as she reminded, “All safeties are off, Angel.”
He set her down on the ground noting that she swayed a little. “Can you stand?”
There was a grin curling at the corners of his mouth as Cordelia nodded. Then Angel leaned forward to place one soft kiss over her already swollen lips before taking hold of her hand and pulling her along behind him toward the stairs.
“I said I could stand,” laughed Cordelia as he pulled her along behind him, “not run a marathon.”
Angel stopped so suddenly that she ran into him just as he turned around. Now off balance, Cordelia knocked them both over so that the vampire was sitting on one of the steps and she was sprawled on top of him. With a playful laugh, she shifted on his lap, “That was fun. Now I get you right where I want you.”
“On the stairs?”
“Beneath me,” she curled her tongue around her front teeth licking her upper lip just as her hands reached down to undo the remaining buttons holding his shirt together.
As Cordelia pushed the shirt off of his broad shoulders, he joked, “Are you upset that I said no to the chains?”
Her eyes twinkled as she answered seriously, “No, I want your hands on me. You know how I like to be touched.”
Angel’s hand wandered up to slide along the outer curve of her breast on its way to cupping the nape of her neck. They kissed until the need for more overcame them in a hot flash of renewed desire. Cordelia fumbled with the buckle on his belt finally winning her battle and yanking the leather belt through its loops before tossing it down the stairs.
Unbuttoning his pants, Cordelia was about to reach for the zipper when he growled, “Not here,” and pulled them both to their feet.
Hastily making their way to Angel’s bedroom, they both stripped off their remaining clothes, eyes intent upon each other, and fell onto the bed in a tangle of limbs. Kiss for kiss, their passion built again, hands wandering over hard angles and soft curves. They were so used to foreplay being the only-play involved that it was vital to their pleasure.
Rolling along the bed, Cordelia found herself hovering above him gazing down into his topaz-tinted eyes and seeing something there that told her their games were now moving onto the next stage. His hand tangled in her hair again, this time nudging her downward just enough to get the point across.
A wicked smile played across her mouth as she curled her body with catlike grace along his to take his cock in hand rubbing its blunt tip across her softly swollen lips. Angel released a low moan of need, his hand sliding down her spine as Cordelia moved and grasping her hip to lift her so that she straddled his chest.
He wanted to taste her as she went down on him.
It had always been one or the other, her pleasure or his; never both at the same time. There was too much of a chance that they’d lose themselves in sensation. Now if both theory and potion were correct, they could have it anyway they wanted.
Cordelia tried to concentrate, but the things Angel was doing with his tongue kept distracting her from the hard shaft in her hand. She ground her hips back against him moaning wantonly as he latched onto her clit then released her to tease her silky folds with his fingers.
Reminding herself that she wanted Angel to experience bliss during their lovemaking, Cordelia returned her lustfully wandering focus to him. Her fingers curled along his rock-hard member, sliding up and down the thick erection teasing him with the slide of her smooth nails. Enclosing her mouth around him, she sucked on the tip curling her tongue beneath to waggle along the sensitive foreskin.
When his hips jerked off the bed, Cordelia raised her head, smiled at herself for his response and licked her lips before doing it again. She was determined to make him come first and put every bit of imagination and enthusiasm she possessed into it. If Angel’s hoarse moans against the wet folds of her sex were any indication, Cordelia was getting to him.
As if he sensed what she was planning, Angel pressed his mouth and fingers to her most sensitive spots sending her crashing into the wall of her inescapable orgasm. Then tasting her hot honey against his tongue Angel thrust his hips off the bed spurting liquid ecstasy into Cordelia’s ready mouth.
Swallowing down every drop she could catch, Cordelia kept her mouth on him as he softened beneath her taking the opportunity to go deeper than before. She continued to sound little moans of pleasure as Angel eased her down from her climax gently stroking her inner flesh and pressing kisses long her inner thighs. Under her careful ministrations, Cordelia realized that this was one time she was going to benefit from vampire stamina as Angel’s erection twitched back to attention within a minute of his orgasm.
They’d never got to play together twice in one night before, she thought with an eagerness that left her heart racing. Excited at the idea, Cordelia stroked him back into a rigid state, moaning softly hearing Angel tell her how much he wanted her and what he planned to do next to the sweet flesh he’d been playing with.
Cordelia nearly came again just hearing the earthy, naughty words on his lips. Angel never talked that way except when they were together like this and the surprisingly sensual sound of it never failed to turn her on.
With a swift move, Angel had her on her back, kneeling between her legs and gazing down from his vantage point above. His hands roved across the smooth skin of her thighs, thumbs circling inwardly. Stars glinted in Cordelia’s eyes, the emotional impact of what they were about to do finally sinking in through the haze of her own desire.
Angel waited. Purposefully, he waited until the anticipation of the moment could no longer be denied, until Cordelia squirmed against the sheets and reached out for him, her fingers just a bare whisper over his engorged flesh. It was just enough to break down his resolve to wait a little longer, to tease her with his cock until she begged him to take her.
Then remembering they were no longer trapped in an endless cycle of word games and teasing caresses that were never enough, Angel brought them together in one long smooth stroke. Cordelia stretched around him holding him tight, her arms and legs encircling him as he held still within her allowing her to adjust to him and to give himself a moment to gain hold of his own suddenly overwhelming emotions.
To be inside her locked within Cordelia’s intimate embrace feeling her warmth surrounding him and the pulse of life beating within her all came together gathering like a hot fist of feeling in his chest. Then Angel heard her as if from a distance. She repeated her words and they flooded his heart.
“I love you,” Cordelia clasped him closer as he began to slowly thrust within her. No sooner did he echo those words than further efforts to voice his feelings became too much.
They rocked together, curiously, cautiously at first, hands roving along each other’s skin. Kisses, licks and nips tasted the salty moisture gathering across their skin as heat and friction turned to slick sweat and building need. Faster, further, harder they moved, each flex of their hips bringing them closer as if trying to merge together so that no one could ever take them apart.
Then Cordelia called out his name as her body reached a climax like no other he had given her before. She shuddered around him, holding tight and with those final short strokes that brought him deep inside her, Angel felt the wave of his own release as he followed her on the road to ecstasy. He pressed hot kisses against her neck and shoulders as his hips bucked hard and then slowed their frenetic pace to a smooth slide of flesh on flesh.
“Don’t leave me,” Cordelia whispered against him as Angel moved to withdraw. “Stay with me.”
Gently, Angel rolled them into a side-lying position, pulling her leg over his hip. “I love you, Cordelia Chase,” he repeated the words he’d said earlier. “You know I’d never leave you given the chance.”
A smile played at the corners of her mouth, “I meant inside me.”
Kissing the tip of her nose, Angel tucked a strand of her damp hair behind her ear and leaned in to say in a deep throaty voice, “So did I.”
“Feeling anything you shouldn’t?” Cordelia asked hesitantly. Their lovemaking had certainly resulted in a blissful state on her part and it was only with the tiniest grain of doubt that she managed to ask him the question.
Angel knew what she was asking, but there was nothing to indicated that he was about to lose his soul. The potion actually worked, he realized with a burst of joy that added to the sheer contentment he’d been feeling. Even his inner demon let out a whoop of excitement realizing that there were no more barrier to being with Cordelia and now they could be together any time, place or way that their imaginations would allow.
“Just getting the feeling that I want you again,” Angel admitted as his body started to respond in the direction of his thoughts. “Think I shouldn’t?”
“Oh, no,” Cordelia pushed him onto his back managing to straddle him and stay mounted at the same time. She let out a sharp gasp at the sensation and then gave him a wicked grin. “I’d say that was something I want you to feel all the time.”
Their enthusiastic lovemaking eventually proved to Phantom Dennis that it was safe to move onto other activities. It wasn’t as if he was going to get to use any of the valuable tips he was quickly learning while observing the pair.
Gathering up all of the discarded clothes he had collected on their way upstairs, he floated them together into one large bundle and released them over Cordelia and Angel’s heads before darting out of the room. He heard them both shriek his name, “Dennis!” just before their laughter followed him down the hall.
“It’s here somewhere,” Harry assured the group as she searched beneath the couch cushions. “I just saw it last night.”
Wesley, Angel and Cordelia stood by in quiet observance as Harry was initiated into their movie night ritual of searching for the remote control. For the last couple of weeks, Wes and Harry had been seeing quite a lot of each other. To the point that she had unofficially joined the A.I. team since Wes didn’t seem to want to let her out of his sight or vice versa during their off hours.
Harry’s knowledge of demonology combined with Wesley’s research skills made them a formidable team, but that wasn’t the best of it. They both had a quirky side that Cordelia hadn’t anticipated making them a perfect match for each other. As for Harry’s ability to withstand their prankster of a ghost, when she located the remote control within three minutes of beginning the search even Dennis was impressed.
Considering all of Cordelia’s scheming even with Angel assisting her in finding Wesley a girlfriend, it had taken a little nudge from his phantom hand to push them in the right direction. All in all, Dennis was satisfied by his work. The people vibes at Angel Investigations were humming with positive energy and what made them happy kept him that way.
Then again, he got a kick out of other emotional reactions too. Realizing that he had already seen the movie, Phantom Dennis suddenly wondered what Wesley would think if his reference library was suddenly rearranged and floated off in the direction of his new office.